Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(17) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
That was the problem with friends.
When the time came, and it always did, for the friendship to dissolve, those friends turned to enemies. And they knew the best place to strike to cripple you.
Yet now the tables were turning. When Stryker had allowed the Dark-Hunters to place the Sumerian amulet around Apollo’s neck and temporarily drain the god’s powers, he’d unknowingly opened a door for Kessar to slip in.
And brought to Kessar a whole new group of allies to play with and feast upon.
Just like Stryker, Kessar knew exactly how and where to make the coup de grâce against the Daimons who’d turned on his gallu brethren. And he wouldn’t hesitate to take it. An eye for an eye. Throat for a throat.
Testicle for testicle.
It wasn’t in the nature of his species to let any slight go. The gallu had been bred as the final “fuck you” of their ancient gods to destroy the world should the world destroy them. Knowing that, Stryker should never have turned on them and declared them a food source for his people.
That was the ground the Daimon was going to be buried upon.
At least that was Kessar’s thought as he opened the door to the cell where the young Were-Hunters had been chained. He’d expected to find both of them where he’d left them.
Instead, the sight of the smoking remains of three headless gallu greeted him. Stunned by the sight, he cocked one regal brow. The chains that had held the young dragons had been ripped from the walls and the metriazo collars that he himself had placed around their necks to block their magick and keep them tame were laying in pieces on the ground at his feet.
“What the hell?” he asked slowly.
There was no sign of either young adult dragon. Gaping to the point he exposed his fangs, he turned toward the Amazon queen.
Eyes wide, she stared at the damage they’d wrought. “What happened?”
Namtar shook his head. “I honestly don’t know. By the time Neti and I got the door open, this was what we found. How could they do this?”
Kessar toed the remains of the gallu closest to him. There were very few creatures capable of this. And only one he’d ever fought against who could do such. A chill went down his spine at the prospect of facing that hairy bastard again. “What is the name of their father?”
Nala scowled. “I’m trying to remember. We never really used it. Um…”
You’ve got to be shitting me? She really couldn’t recall something so banal?
Or something so vital?
He met her vacuous gaze. “Was it perchance Maxis Drago?”
“Yes!” But the joy quickly faded from her gaze as she realized it wasn’t a good thing that he knew the dragon’s name. “How did you know?”
How did he know…
Sick to his stomach, he exchanged a glare with Namtar. “Son of the lilitu.”
Still, she had no clue of the monster she’d unknowingly harbored. “What’s that?”
He laughed at her stupidity. But then, being female, she wouldn’t have ever drawn the attention of a lilit demon. They preyed exclusively on males, and in particular, male demons and gods. “In short, our mothers. The gallu were originally hatched in the eggs of the lilitu.”
“Are you telling me that he’s your brother?”
How he wished it was that simple. “No. We were bred differently by our gods. Designed for a specific purpose. He was truly born from the forbidden coupling of a lilit mother and an arel father, and raised to be a tool for the ancient gods.” Kessar pierced her with a harsh glare, before he rammed home exactly what kind of creature they were dealing with. “And it’s said he turned on his own mother in a fit of anger, and tore out her throat with his own teeth.”
He nodded as he lifted his shirt to expose the wound on his side that had never healed. A vicious bite scar that ran from nipple to hip, and forever oozed with dragon venom. “He is not just your Dragonbane. He is my personal plague and the one creature in this universe I would give anything to have in battle one last time.”
“Anything… More than that, he has in his possession something he protects that’s a lot more powerful than the Emerald Tablet.” He lowered his shirt. “Forget restoring the old world we once knew. With what he has, we could reign as gods ourselves. We would have the power to not only take life, but to create it. To make and destroy entire worlds, and pantheons.”
Completely shocked, she gaped at him. “Are you telling me that dumb, idiot dragon who lived in my village —”
“Is one of the most powerful and ancient creatures who has ever roamed this planet.” Kessar laughed bitterly. “He was never a dumb animal, you stupid bitch. But for the curse placed on his mother, he would have been born a Naşāru.”
A being of purest light, they were the protectors of order and the defenders of the primal gods. Resolute warriors of the highest honor and noblest hearts. Their place was to remain away from the world and those who lived in it so that they wouldn’t be corrupted by evil.
But once exposed to the world, they became the deadliest of all its creatures.
And none more so than Maxis.
“What curse?” Nala asked.
Kessar folded his arms over his chest. “After Lilit made the mistake of seducing a god and becoming pregnant with his child, his goddess wife cursed her and all her kind to never birth a live child, or to carry a fetus in their wombs. Rather they were all to lay eggs and only have serpent children. And so the first race of dragons were born from the cursed lilitu. Because of what those children were, their mothers hid them away and left them to die in caverns and caves. Over time, the gods learned that these children were excellent survivors and that their solitary natures made them the perfect vassals to guard their most sacred objects.”
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